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messenger-no143

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Published by: European Southern Observatory on Mar 22, 2011
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The Messenger
No. 143 – March 2011
Brasil to join ESOThe 2nd generation VLTI instrument GRAVITYSpectroscopy of planet-forming discsLarge Lyman-break galaxy survey 
 
2
The Messenger 143
– March 2011
Pottasch; and by Raymond Wilson, wholed the Optics Group during his tenure asDirector General.In the last issue of 
The Messenger 
 (142, p. 51) only a brief obituary of AdriaanBlaauw, the second Director Generalof ESO, could be included at the time of going to press.There follow three tributes to AdriaanBlaauw: by Tim de Zeeuw, currentESO Director General; by his long-termcolleague at the Kapteyn Institute, StuartThe Organisation
Adriaan Blaauw, 1914–2010
The Messenger 
may serve to give theworld outside some impression of whathappens inside ESO.” The continuingpopularity of 
The Messenger 
is a testi-mony to Blaauw’s foresight.After stepping down as Director Generalof ESO, Blaauw returned to Leiden,where I had the privilege to be amongsthis students. He continued to play avery important role in international astron-omy. He was President of the Interna-tional Astronomical Union from 1976 to1979, during which period he used hisconsiderable diplomatic skills to convinceChina to rejoin the IAU. From 1979 to1982 he served on the ESO Council onbehalf of the Netherlands. He retired from
Tim de Zeeuw
11
ESOProfessor Adriaan Blaauw, ESO’s sec-ond Director General and one of the
most inuential astronomers of the twen
-tieth century, passed away on 1 Decem-ber 2010.Adriaan Blaauw was born in Amsterdam,the Netherlands, on 12 April 1914. Hestudied astronomy at Leiden University,under de Sitter, Hertzsprung and Oort,and obtained his doctorate (cum laude)with van Rhijn at the Kapteyn Laboratoryin Groningen in 1946. His PhD thesiswas entitled “A study of the Scorpio–Centaurus Cluster”. During his career,Blaauw became renowned for his ground-breaking studies of the properties of OB associations (groups of young, hotstars) which contain the fossil imprintof their star formation history. Perhaps hismost famous work explained why someOB stars are found in isolation travellingat unusually high velocity: the so-called“run-away stars”. Blaauw proposed in1961 that these stars had originally beenmembers of binary systems, and whenone star in the binary experiences asupernova explosion, its companion sud-denly ceases to feel the gravitationalpull that keeps it in its orbit and hence it“runs away” at its orbital velocity.In addition to his distinguished researchcareer, Blaauw played a central role inthe creation of ESO. In 1953, Baade andOort proposed the idea of combiningEuropean resources to create an astro-nomical research organisation thatcould compete in the international arena.Blaauw had returned to Leiden in 1948,but moved to Yerkes Observatory in1953, becoming its associate director in1956, and moved back to Groningenin 1957, where he was in a key position tocontribute to transforming the idea of Baade and Oort into reality. He was Sec-retary of the ESO Committee (the proto-Council) from 1959 through 1963, aperiod which included the signing of theESO Convention on 5 October 1962.
Blaauw became ESO’s Scientic Director
in 1968. In this position he also pro-vided the decisive push which led to thecreation of 
Astronomy and Astrophysics
,which successfully combined andreplaced the various individual nationaljournals for astronomy, and today isone of the leading astronomy researchpublications in the world. The articleby Pottasch (1994) and the following trib-ute provide further details of Blaauw’screative leadership in the founding of theEuropean astronomical journal.Blaauw was Director General from 1970through 1974. During this period severaltelescopes, including the ESO 0.5-metreand 1-metre Schmidt telescopes, began
operating at ESO’s rst observatory
site, La Silla, in Chile, and much work was done on the design and constructionof the ESO 3.6-metre telescope, which
had its rst light in 1976. Blaauw decided
that it was crucial for this project to moveESO’s Headquarters and the TechnicalDepartment from Hamburg to Geneva, to
benet from the presence of the experi
-enced CERN engineering group. He alsooversaw the development of the Proto-col for Privileges and Immunities that iscritical for ESO’s functioning. In May1974 he launched
The Messenger 
withthe stated goal: “to promote the partici-pation of ESO staff in what goes on inthe organisation, especially at places of duty other than our own. Moreover,
Figure 1.
Adriaan Blaauw in 1973 while Director Gen-eral of ESO. From a photograph taken during a con-tract-signing ceremony for building works at La Silla.
ESO [M]
 
3
The Messenger 143
– March 2011
his Leiden professorship in 1981 andmoved back to Groningen, but stayedactive in various areas. This includedorganising the historical archives of ESOand of the IAU — work which resulted intwo books,
ESO’s Early History 
(Blaauw,1991) and
History of the IAU 
(Blaauw,1994). He also served as Chairman of 
the Scientic Evaluation Committee for
the European Space Agency satelliteHIPPARCOS, advising on many aspects
of its scientic programme. When the
data became available in 1996, he wasactively involved in the re-analysis of theyoung stellar groups that he had studied
rst during his PhD research.
Blaauw remained keenly interested indevelopments at ESO. After a discussionwith him in late 2008, he drove himself to Garching and back in July 2009 inorder to take another look at the historicaldocuments in the library and to discussESO’s early history with some of us(see the photograph in
The Messenger 
,
137, p. 6). During this visit he revealed his
wish to visit Chile one more time if hishealth would allow this. It was a pleasureto organise this trip in February 2010.He met ESO “legends” Albert Bosker, JanDoornenbal, Erich Schumann and DanielHofstadt and was driven to La Silla andParanal by car to enjoy Chile’s beautifullandscapes. He characteristically engagedyoung people at the telescopes andin Vitacura in interesting discussions andthroughout the visit displayed a crystal-clear perspective on the development of ESO and on the exciting opportunitiesfor the future programme (a photographof this visit is shown in
The Messenger 
,139, p. 61). The characteristic twinkle inhis eye was as bright as ever.Blaauw won many academic distinctions,including membership of many academiesof science, honorary doctorates fromthe University of Besancon and froml’Observatoire de Paris and, like his pre-decessor as ESO Director General,Otto Heckman, the Bruce Medal of the
Astronomical Society of the Pacic. He
was well known for his warm personality,wisdom, humour, legendary patience,and the rare gift of being able to slowdown when the pressure mounted. Thepersonal account of his life, entitled“My Cruise Through the World of Astron-omy”, published in the 2004
Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics
(Blaauw, 2004), provides an accurateand inspiring picture of a truly remarkable
person, who positively inuenced the
lives of many.
ReferencesBlaauw, A. 2004, ARAA, 42, 1Pottasch, S. R. 1994, The Messenger, 76, 62
This is where Adriaan, who was at that
time Scientic Director of ESO, came
in. He suggested, organised and imple-mented a legal status for the new jour-nal. The basic idea was that ESO would
make use of the fact that it was an of-
 cial European organisation. Its adminis-trative and legal services were madeavailable to the journal through a formalagreement between ESO and the Boardof Directors of the journal. This agree-
ment was conrmed at the December
1968 ESO Council meeting, just before
the rst issue of the new journal
As­tronomy and Astrophysics
appeared inJanuary 1969. Individual countries
could now contribute nancially to the
journal, but ESO itself would carry no
nancial responsibility for the journal. At
the same time the Board would be en-
tirely independent of any inuence fromthe ESO side on its scientic policy.
But this did not end Adriaan’s connec-tion with the new journal. He acceptedan invitation to become a member of the Board of Directors and was in factelected chairman of that body. The
Stuart Pottasch
11
Kapteyn Laboratorium, Groningen,the Netherlands
Adriaan has contributed to many elds of 
astronomy. In the long years we haveknown and worked with each other thereare two aspects that may be less wellknown and that I would like to highlight.First of all is the deep interest he took inthe formation of the European journal
Astronomy and Astrophysics
. Adriaantook part in the initial discussions, which
rst began to take real shape in 1967
and especially in 1968. The discussionsin 1967 took place in several European
countries. At rst they were independent
of each other and took place becauseof a general feeling in Europe that existingEuropean astronomical journals werenot being read to the same extent as theAmerican journals. In December 1967a meeting took place in France whichwas attended by almost all French as-tronomers of PhD level or higher, with theresult that 75% of those present agreedthat a new journal was desirable. Simi-lar meetings took place at a somewhathigher level in other countries. At thispoint there was much enthusiasm to begina new journal. This led to a meeting of European astronomers on 8 April 1968.In spite of the enthusiasm for the Euro-pean astronomical journal, there were
rather difcult problems ahead. These
problems were of a practical nature andarose because the new journal was tobe a combination of journals published invarious European countries. The indi-vidual journals all had a rather differentstatus. Some were owned by privatepublishers, some by astronomical organi-sations. The French journals were ownedby the ministry in France, which could
not contribute nancially to a Europeanjournal without an ofcial treaty between
various countries. The timescale forsuch a treaty, essentially the creation of an international organisation, was ex-pected to be long, and the discussionscomplicated.

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